Club Odyssey: Community Driven Sober Living with Great Music

Club Odyssey

Faith Logue, Contributing Writer

Club Odyssey is a state-funded program for ages 18 to 25 that provides addiction services with treatment and recovery help. With funding from the OASAS (Office of Addiction Services and Supports), Youth Clubhouse programs like Club Odyssey (one of the oldest) can stay afloat and “provide peer support, community engagement and skill-building opportunities, educational and vocational support, recreational and prosocial activities, and sessions on health and wellness,” per the OASAS website.

Hosted by Friends of Recovery Dedicated to Others (FOR-DO), Club Odyssey on Water Street and the Oneonta Teen Center on Academy Street host concerts, mentoring sessions, pizza and film nights, and more. Kaler Carpenter, Program Manager of the Youth Clubhouses​ FOR-DO, has been at Club Odyssey since 2017. 

“Our programming is constantly changing and constantly evolving to fit the needs of the youth we work with,” he said. “Our current lineup of programming is pretty thin compared to usual, and that’s because we’re short-staffed, but we always offer young people a safe space to hang out to, play games, and make friends.” 

Club Odyssey is open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday – featuring a different schedule each night. Thursday is dedicated to their creative arts program called Road Recovery Trax, where people can create music with equipment provided by the venue. At the end, they showcase their work in a concert. On Fridays, they host their peer support recovery group with film nights and podcast recordings and also create a space where staff members and interns are available to help. 

Kaler went on to explain that those seeking addiction-specific recovery help can reach out through social media or call for more information. “I’ve had people just call and ask if we can help. We assess the need, and if we need to get them help that is outside of our wheelhouse, then we can send them to our other location on Main Street.” It is a non-judgmental and safe space for youth and adults to get help – something desperately needed in a city with a drug problem like Oneonta.

Saturday is their Club Night at either the Water Street location or the Teen Center on Academy Street. “Booking shows changes per semester and per school year based on resources, so this year we’ve not been able to do as many shows as we had the previous year. Ideally, we’d have three full-time staff so this year, because of that, I’ve taken the biggest chunk of responsibility for booking shows,” Carpenter said.

Shows at Club Odyssey are well received by students and musicians alike. Allie Sandt performed there multiple times, explaining that “Club Odyssey offers a lot in its own right- their shows are often aimed toward younger audiences, and they sometimes include fun games and activities before and after shows…They are a great group of people over there!” Other acts like AJ Jackson and Brotality agree that Club Odyssey is a great place run by supportive people with an audience that loves to “dance around.” Jackson did add that he wished shows in the area were more organized and that there was a set schedule for shows to prevent overlapping, as sometimes students must choose between one show or another.

Club Odyssey also has a unique internship program – with interns of all majors welcome. Andrew Sivillo – a junior Music Industry student at SUNY Oneonta – interns at the venue, helping to manage and operate live sound, and providing support for the Trax Program. Andrew loves the internship and is “learning more about [his] career goal of becoming a live audio engineer after college.” He gets “hands-on experience” throughout the internship, and highly recommends it for people wanting to perfect their audio skills while also giving back to the community.

It is a relatively easy place to get booked if you’re a musician. You can reach out to Kaler to get more information, or he even might reach out to you! However, in a small city like Oneonta, it is still hard to get a great turnout and build an audience that isn’t just college students. “Our focus with music is opening up the space to all ages. I would love to see kids and families come to the shows. We’ve always had a hard time kind of breaking that bubble as far as being able to get the support that people show up outside college students. I think it can be done but it would take more work and communication and networking,” he said.

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